Understanding Wheel Offset: What It Is and How It Affects Your Wheel Purchase

Understanding Wheel Offset: What It Is and How It Affects Your Wheel Purchase

When you're in the market for a new set of wheels, the aesthetics and size are typically the first things that catch your eye. However, there's another critical aspect you need to consider: wheel offset. Although it might seem technical, understanding wheel offset is crucial when selecting the perfect set for your car. I'll quickly break down what wheel offset is and how it can influence your buying decision.

What is Wheel Offset?

Wheel offset refers to the distance between the wheel's mounting surface (where it attaches to the hub) and the wheel's centerline. Measured in millimeters (mm), offset can be:

  1. Positive: The mounting surface is towards the outside (street side) of the wheel's centerline. This setup pushes the wheel more inwards towards the car. Most common on car wheels, giving a flush look. 
  2. Zero: The mounting surface is even with the wheel's centerline. This will be in the DEAD center of the wheel. This is most common on truck wheels where fender to tire alignment is not important. 
  1. Negative: The mounting surface is towards the inside of the wheel's centerline. This pushes the wheel more outwards, away from the car. Commonly seen on large lifted trucks.

Why is Wheel Offset Important?

Understanding wheel offset is vital for several reasons:

  1. Vehicle Handling: The offset can affect how your vehicle handles. For instance, a change in offset alters the car's scrub radius (the point where the steering axis intersects the ground). A misjudged offset can lead to unstable steering.
  2. Clearance: Wheels with the wrong offset might not clear the brakes or other components of your vehicle. They might also rub against the fenders when making sharp turns or during suspension compression.
  3. Aesthetics: Some drivers prefer the aggressive look that wheels with a negative offset (often called "deep dish" wheels) offer, as they protrude more from the side of the car. 
  4. Suspension and Component Wear: Incorrect offset can put undue stress on suspension components, bearings, and other parts, leading to premature wear and tear.

How to Determine the Right Offset?

Our wheels are known to be very aggressive in styling. We have a lot of designs with a concave/angle spokes to give them that look, but that results in offset challenges ( low offset wheels) Here are some steps to help:

  1. Lookup your factory wheel size and offset: We like to use https://www.wheel-size.com/ to find factory specs on wheels. This will give you an idea of factory width and offset. 
  2. Offset calculator:  You can use our offset difference calculator to see where your new wheels will sit compared to your factory wheel. Diameter is not important here, only width and offset

Wheel Offset Calculator 

      3. ASK US!: If in doubt, please email or chat with us. We'd love to help you find the perfect set of wheels, even if it isn't a Cosmis Wheel!


While wheel offset might seem like a small detail, it is crucial. Before making a purchase, always ensure the wheels you're considering are not just visually appealing but also match your vehicle's offset specifications.